Could the Xbox 360 replicate OnLive?

Written by Joe Martin

June 18, 2009 // 11:22 a.m.

Tags: #could-the-xbox-360-replicate-onlive #microconsole #microsoft #onlive #shane-kim #streaming #xbox-360

Microsoft may be looking to replicate the OnLive games streaming service on the Xbox 360 it seems, though Microsoft's John Schappert has said it's far to early to confirm anything along those lines.

Announced back in March, OnLive is a possibly revolutionary system that could potentially change the face of gaming by allowing customers to remotely rent time on games rather than buying them outright. The games are run on server farms far away, with player input getting piped over to these farms via a broadband connection. Game content is then essentially sent back to players as a video feed.

While the OnLive system certainly sounds market-changing and cool though, there have been some questions raised about how the technology could possibly work - especially when it comes to the thorny issues of lag, video compression and how well the product would do on a market already crowded by Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and PC manufacturers. Things haven't been aided by the fact that OnLive has so far only been demonstrated under very controlled conditions.

During E3 however, Microsoft announced a similar service called Instant Streaming, which allows to full 1080p content to be streamed to Xbox 360 consoles instantly - no delays, discs or compression at all. Microsoft weren't coy about the potential of the service either, hinting that streaming fully-downloadable games could be coming in the future.

Putting two and two together, Kotaku approached Microsoft's corporate VP of Xbox Live, John Schappert, to see if Microsoft might not be attempting to beat OnLive to market, or to at least create a rival technology that would run on the Xbox 360. He didn't exactly deny it.

"I think [that] you connecting the technology dots is astute," Schappert said. "But it's nothing we're ready to announce or talk about today… I think that a broadband-connected console to the television enables us to do many things."

"As the bandwidth continues to increase and latency continues to decrease, I think it opens up new avenues of possibility. And of course I've got 5000 smart people back home that will tell me all the crazy things that can't be done. But there's also just as many that can solve all these technological problems and deliver the amazing innovation that they're doing. I think anything is possible but nothing that we're going to announce right now. I think just delivering 1080p [without delay], something that no other device has done, is pretty amazing."

Would you be interested in using a service like OnLive, or a Microsoft-run competitor, or are you still dubious about whether such a product could actually work as well as they claim? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

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